2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Randy Hannagan Concord, NC--Jan. 26, 2007 -- Randy Hannagan knows the importance of the off-season, and is a firm believer that races are won and lost in the race shop over the winter. That is why he and his team...
2007 World of Outlaws Preview: Randy Hannagan
Concord, NC--Jan. 26, 2007 -- Randy Hannagan knows the importance of the off-season, and is a firm believer that races are won and lost in the race shop over the winter. That is why he and his team have been preparing tirelessly for the 2007 World of Outlaws campaign since they arrived back at the shop after the curtain fell on the 2006 season.
Hannagan was 11th in points last year, on the strength of 21 Top-10 finishes. He set fast time twice, and also won two dashes to earn the same number of pole positions.
With the nearly 90-race season quickly approaching, beginning with the DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop at Volusia Speedway Park on February 9, Hannagan and his team have put the final touches on their cars and made sure all the nuts and bolts are tight. They are set to arrive in Florida early to turn some extra laps before the World of Outlaws season takes the green flag.
"It takes the off-season (to stay fresh), and it takes being really well prepared," said Hannagan. "Every team that runs with the Outlaws full-time is really well prepared. We just have to make sure we do our homework at the shop and be a little bit better than the next guy."
While some teams spend a large portion of the off-season putting a new crew together for a rigorous season on the road that is something that Hannagan did not have to worry about. His crew is intact from last year, consisting of Chris Stillwell from Visalia, Calif., and Steve Moulton from Canada. This has the always affable driver feeling very confident entering what will undoubtedly be a very competitive season.
"That is definitely a plus, because everyone knows their role and what to do," commented Hannagan in reference to his crew. "Everyone knows what is expected of each other. That's a plus for us."
The native of San Jose, who now calls Pittsboro, Indiana home, was close to winning on several occasions last season. He scored eight Top-Five finishes, including a season-best third at The Dirt Track @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. He matched that at Sharon (Ohio) Speedway in May, as well as at Knoxville Raceway in October as the season wound down. With that solid foundation in place, Hannagan is confident he will run at the front of the field and compete for wins again this season.
"We have to have a good package to win," said the 1995 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. "We had a good package last year, but it was not quite good enough to win. We're trying to get to that next level, where we can finish what we started. We finished just about every race last year, when we did not blow up or get crashed. I think a lot of it is putting yourself to the next level where you can win races. That's what we worked on this off-season, putting everything together to get it done to win races."
With nearly 30 cars starting the year out with the World of Outlaws, Hannagan knows the importance of making sure the team hits on the right set-up every time he takes to the track. Last season 26 different drivers led laps with an average car count of 41 machines signing into the pit gate each and every night. With numerous drivers from around the country competing in Florida, the three straight nights of racing at Volusia are expected to be some of the most tightly contested events of the season.
"The competition level will be very high," admitted Hannagan. "It will be a year to remember for the World of Outlaws sprint cars. There will be more people (racing) this year than has ever been."
Being a veteran of the sport, Hannagan knows just how much goes into being successful on a nightly basis. From the time the cars rolls off the trailer until it returns there when the checkered flag falls, everything has to fall into place to be consistent. Also, having a little luck fall into place once in a while helps as well.
"I think it's going to be consistency that pays off, not the guy that can qualify or be fastest for two laps," he explained, when pondering what will lead to a successful season. "I think it's going to be the guy that can make all 88 or so races this year."
With the season lasting nine-plus months, it will keep Hannagan and his team away from home quite a bit. They will be able to return to their shop on occasion during races in the Midwest, including stops in the Hoosier State at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway and Tri-State (Ind.) Speedway. Hannagan will feel like he is at home though every time he is at the track, because he will have his fiancee Angie and son Mason on the road with him.
"I eat, drink, and breathe racing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," beamed Hannagan. "Having my family there definitely makes a difference. When you need those minutes to get away and have a break and get back to reality, they're there for that. I love them to death for that. I'm able to sometimes separate the racing from normal everyday life, by having them there."
After a very consistent season last year, Hannagan is looking forward to improving on that even more this year. He relishes the challenge that awaits him and the rest of the World of Outlaws competitors this season.
"The goal is to run in the top-five, win races, and finish the year in the Top-Five in points," he said.